Do Your Kids Know How to Wait? Pt. 3

(Read Part 1 and Part 2)

By Joey & Carla Link

September 6, 2023

One of our daughters has the Sanguine/Choleric temperament blend (just like her mother!) and learning to be patient was something we worked with her on for a period of years. I remember when we were going somewhere, she had to wait until her siblings got in the van to get in. She would run outside and when she got to the end of the sidewalk leading to the driveway, she would screech to a halt, stand there and wait. Why? Because her impatience to be first made her push and shove her way in the van and someone always got hurt. She wasn’t still while she was waiting for them, but that didn’t bother us as that wasn’t what we were working on. 

We hope you caught what we just said – “that didn’t bother us because that wasn’t what we were working on.” So often parents get so caught up in what they are working on with one of their kids that they start harping on every little thing they do. This is a good example of “working on one thing at a time.”

Back to patience. Teaching your child the character quality of waiting (patience), will give him/her a better ability to wait on God when he becomes an adult. 

Here are a couple things that need to be in place before you teach your children to wait patiently. We will share two more ways in next week’s blog when we conclude this series on teaching your kids to be patient. 

1.     Your children need to see you be patient before they will decide it is important for them to be. As more is “caught than taught,” I encourage you to pick one area in your life that your children can see you becoming more patient in. Do you show patience when you are driving in traffic, or when you are waiting to check out at a store and the shortest line become the longest one? Perhaps you could work on being more patient with your kids when they don’t get their stuff done. They will definitely notice that! It is not easy for most of us to wait, especially in a culture that tells us to go, go, go.

Let your kids know you are working on the area you choose. Let’s say you decide to be patient when you drive. The next time you are stuck in traffic and your children are in the car, tell them how hard it is to sit and wait for the traffic to get going again and how much you want to say something unkind to the other drivers. Let them know you are working on being patient and how hard that is for you at that moment.

2.     Teach your kids why we need to be patient when we wait on God to answer our prayers. He knows exactly when the answer needs to come. It doesn’t matter when we want our prayers to be answered. All that matters is we need to trust God to know when it is the right time. At the dinner table have your kids come up with a definition for the word trust. It is also a good time to teach your children that just because they want something doesn’t mean you or God think they should have it and even though they may not be happy about not getting it, they need to learn to accept when the answer is “No”.

Patience is tough to come by. Building patience into your children’s strength of character will help them in so many ways as they grow and mature. Our Sanguine daughter? Her little girl was born last year with a minor health condition that she should outgrow within the first two years. She often comes to see us when her husband travels with his work. We have never seen our daughter lose her patience when nothing seemed to calm her little one. We have both often marveled at her calm demeanor and steadfast endurance. I told her on one visit that I admired her patience and we all laughed. What kind of mother do you think she would be if she was trying to learn to be patient now, as an adult in the midst of a difficult situation?  

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31